Satisfy Your Cravings: Vegetarian Reuben Sandwich Recipe

My dear readers, today I present to you the ultimate vegetarian sandwich recipe that will conquer your taste buds from the very first bite. This is not just any ordinary sandwich, but a reimagined classic recipe that will surprise and delight both vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.

I am talking about the incredibly delicious Vegetarian Reuben Sandwich, also known as the Virgin Reuben. This extraordinary sandwich is packed with flavor and texture that will make you forget about the absence of meat.

The classic Reuben sandwich traditionally consists of corned beef or pastrami, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, Russian dressing, and rye bread. However, this vegetarian version replaces the meat with tempeh bacon or tofu, making it a healthier and more sustainable option while retaining all the flavor of the original recipe.

Trust me when I say that this sandwich is a culinary masterpiece that will satisfy your cravings for a hearty meal. It may be called a “reimagined” recipe, but I assure you, it’s every bit as flavorful and satisfying as the original. Get ready to take a bite into perfection! So without further ado, let’s dive into this amazing Vegetarian Reuben Sandwich recipe!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe


Vegetarian Reuben Sandwich(Virgin Reuben)
Vegetarian Reuben Sandwich(Virgin Reuben)


Dear fellow foodies,

Are you tired of the same old boring sandwiches for lunch? Looking for something more exciting to sink your teeth into? Look no further than this mouth-watering Vegetarian Reuben Sandwich recipe!

This recipe puts a fresh and innovative twist on the classic sandwich, without sacrificing any of its delicious flavor. The tempeh bacon provides a savory, smoky taste while the sauerkraut adds the perfect amount of tanginess. And let’s not forget the Swiss cheese, which is melted to perfection and adds a creamy texture to each bite.

But what really sets this recipe apart is the homemade Russian dressing. Made with mayonnaise, chili sauce, fresh lemon juice, capers, and spices such as allspice and fresh black pepper, it packs a punch that will leave your taste buds dancing.

And the best part? This Vegetarian Reuben Sandwich is completely meat-free! It’s the perfect option for those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, but even for carnivores who want to try something new and healthier.

So what are you waiting for? Give this recipe a try and experience all its mouth-watering flavors for yourself. Trust me, your taste buds will thank you.

Ingredient List


 This reuben sandwich has all the flavor, without the meat!
This reuben sandwich has all the flavor, without the meat!


Ingredients for an Amazing Vegetarian Reuben Sandwich

To make the best vegetarian reuben sandwich you’ll need a few primary ingredients such as tempeh bacon, swiss cheese, sauerkraut, russian dressing and rye bread. But going beyond that list, we also have added some extras to our recipe which give this sandwich it’s wow factor. Below is your full grocery list for making this vegan twist on the classic Reuben sandwich.

For The Tempeh Bacon:

  • 8 oz tempeh, sliced into thin strips;
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil;
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice;
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari sauce;
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika;
  • 1 tsp maple syrup;
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice;
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste;

For Russian Dressing:

  • 1 cup vegan mayonnaise;
  • 2 tbsp chili sauce or ketchup;
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice;
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced;
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped;
  • 1 tbsp fresh chives, finely chopped;
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste;

For The Sandwich Filling:

  • About 8 slices of Swiss cheese depending on the size of your bread slices (use vegan cheese if making this sandwich vegan);
  • Thinly sliced reuben meat substitute: Vegan deli slices like Tofurky or Yves are perfect for this recipe. Try seitan or tempeh in addition.
  • Sauerkraut, drained and rinsed (approximately a cup);
  • One small onion, thinly sliced;
  • One sweet apple, thinly sliced (honeycrisp apples go well with this recipe);
  • Two Bunches of Tuscan Kale with center ribs and stems removed, leaves coarsely torn (optional);
  • *Unsalted butter at room temperature for grilling/buttering bread;
  • Dill Pickles, for serving;

For The Bread:

Rye bread slices typically are used to make a classic reuben but feel free to use whatever bread you like best or have on hand.

  • 4 slices of rye or pumpernickel bread (gluten-free bread can be used if necessary);
  • Extra virgin olive oil plus brushing butter (if going vegan use only extra virgin olive oil);


The Recipe How-To


 You won't even notice it's vegetarian with this recipe.
You won’t even notice it’s vegetarian with this recipe.



Step 1: Cook the Tempeh Bacon

  • In a skillet over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and cook 8 slices of tempeh bacon as per package instructions until it turns crispy.
  • Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to remove excess oil.

Step 2: Caramelize the Onion

  • Using the same skillet, add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter and let it melt.
  • Add thinly sliced 1 small onion, season it with a pinch of kosher salt and cook over low heat until onion is caramelized for 20-25 minutes.
  • Set it aside.

Step 3: Mix the Russian Dressing

  • In a small bowl, combine ¼ cup of vegan mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of capers, and 2 teaspoons of chili sauce. Stir well then set it aside.

Step 4: Assemble the Sandwich

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • Brush each slice of rye bread with 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.
  • Place them onto a baking sheet and bake for about 5 minutes until lightly toasted.

Note: You could also use corn rye bread or sourdough bread depending on your preference.

  • Spread the Russian dressing onto one side of each slice of toasted bread.
  • Layer one side with six slices of Swiss cheese, followed by the cooked tempeh bacon, caramelized onions, sauerkraut (drained and rinsed) and sliced dill pickles.

Note: For variation, you could also substitute sauerkraut with kale reuben or beet reuben.

  • Top it off with additional dressing on another slice of toasted bread and place it on top to make a sandwich.
  • Spread unsalted butter on top slice outside.
  • Grill in a panini press until cheese is melted and bread is toasted for about three minutes per sandwich.

Serve hot and enjoy!

Taste buds do travel far but this classic vegan spin on a Reuben recipe will definitely satisfy your craving in no time.


Substitutions and Variations


 This sandwich is the perfect balance of salty, sweet, and savory.
This sandwich is the perfect balance of salty, sweet, and savory.


As with any recipe, there are always substitutions and variations to make it your own. Here are a few ideas that you could use to switch things up with this Vegetarian Reuben Sandwich recipe.

First off, if you’re not a fan of tempeh bacon or tofu, you could easily swap these out for vegetarian corned beef or pastrami. Another creative way to switch up the protein source in this sandwich is by using cooked beets instead. A beet Reuben might not sound like the most traditional option, but it can be a nice change of pace.

For the cheese, Swiss is the classic choice for a Reuben, but you could also experiment with other types of cheese. Cheddar, provolone, or even pepper jack could all add some delicious flavor to your sandwich.

If you’re not a fan of sauerkraut or want to try something different, consider using thinly sliced pickles instead. This will give your sandwich a more tangy, acidic flavor compared to the slightly sour profile of sauerkraut.

Finally, if you want to add some extra greens to your sandwich, you could use kale instead of bread as the base. A kale Reuben is packed with nutrients and can be a creative way to elevate this classic sandwich while making it even healthier.

There are countless ways to make this vegetarian Reuben sandwich recipe your own. So don’t be afraid to experiment with different ingredients and see what flavors and combinations inspire you!

Serving and Pairing


 Move over meat, this sandwich is just as hearty and filling.
Move over meat, this sandwich is just as hearty and filling.


When it comes to serving and pairing the Vegetarian Reuben Sandwich, there is one drink that I highly recommend: kombucha. Its tangy and effervescent flavor perfectly complements the savory umami flavors of the sandwich. You can also enjoy it with a crisp green salad or a side of crunchy potato chips.

For an elevated experience, I highly recommend serving the sandwich warm. To do so, simply heat up a skillet and place the cooked sandwich on it. Cook until the cheese has melted and the bread is crispy. You can also add more butter to the skillet for an extra crispy exterior.

I love to serve the Vegetarian Reuben Sandwich as a hearty lunch or even for dinner with a side of sauerkraut or some kale chips. It’s a versatile dish that pairs well with many sides and beverages.

So stop thinking about it and start preparing your own Vegan Reuben Sandwich with a glass of kombucha or your favorite drink, some chips or salad on the side, and enjoy this savory classic reimagined in its vegetarian version!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating


 Don't knock it 'til you try it, this reuben is a game-changer.
Don’t knock it ’til you try it, this reuben is a game-changer.


As with any sandwich, it’s best to assemble a Reuben just before eating it. However, with a few simple tips and tricks, you can make ahead, store, and reheat this vegetarian Reuben sandwich to keep it fresh, delicious, and convenient.

To make ahead, prepare each component of the sandwich separately and store them in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 3 days. Store the sauerkraut in a separate container and drain any excess liquid before storing. Reheat the filling elements like tempeh bacon and sautéed vegetables in the oven or toaster oven until heated through before assembling the sandwich.

To store leftover sandwiches, wrap them tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Consume cold or reheat in a low-temperature oven until warmed through.

When reheating leftovers, be mindful of the bread as it can become soggy when reheated in the microwave. A better option for reheating is to use a toaster oven or oven set to 350°F (175°C) for 5-10 minutes or until heated through.

It’s worth mentioning that even when stored properly, the quality may slightly diminish after refrigeration. For optimal texture and taste, it’s best to consume your Vegetarian Reuben Sandwich fresh.

Tips for Perfect Results


 You don't need meat to make a delicious sandwich, just ask the Virgin Reuben.
You don’t need meat to make a delicious sandwich, just ask the Virgin Reuben.


When preparing the vegetarian Reuben sandwich recipe, there are some tips to help you achieve perfect results. These tips are not only about the ingredients but also about the cooking process.

Firstly, when cooking the tempeh bacon, ensure that you use a skillet at medium heat. This will help to cook it evenly and prevent it from burning. Once cooked, drain any excess oil on a paper towel before adding it to your sandwich.

Secondly, ensure that your sauerkraut is completely drained and rinsed before adding it to your sandwich. This step will help to remove any excess saltiness from the sauerkraut, thereby balancing all the flavors in your recipe.

Thirdly, for the Russian dressing, do not be afraid to adjust the seasonings to fit your personal preference. You can increase or reduce the amount of spices such as dill and fresh ground black pepper until you get your desired taste.

Fourthly, when making the Reuben sauce, ensure that you use freshly squeezed lemon juice for a tangy flavor. Also, remember to use allspice which gives it an authentic taste similar to that of corned beef.

Fifthly, when using Swiss cheese for this Vegetarian Reuben Sandwich recipe or its variations such as Kale Reuben or Beet Reuben recipes or any other sandwich recipes calling for Swiss cheese then ensuring they are thinly sliced will facilitate melting and distribution.

Lastly, do not shy away from experimenting with different variations of this recipe such as substituting meat products for vegetarian options like tofu or seitan. This will result in a flavorful treat that complements a vegan lifestyle while satisfying cravings.

By utilizing these tips, you can create a wonderful vegetarian Reuben sandwich that’s sure to please even non-vegans. Your friends and family will enjoy every bite of this plant-based version of a classic sandwich.


Now, before wrapping up this Vegetarian Reuben Sandwich (Virgin Reuben) Recipe article, let us talk about some frequently asked questions or FAQs that you may have been itching to ask! So, here are the answers to the most common queries.

What is vegetarian Reuben made of?

Get ready to have your taste buds tantalized with an absolutely scrumptious vegetarian take on a classic Reuben sandwich. Featuring a perfect blend of tangy sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and a rich, savory Russian dressing, all nestled between slices of hearty rye bread, this sandwich is sure to satisfy even the most discerning palate.

What is Reuben sauce made of?

The flavorful Reuben sauce is made with a blend of sauerkraut, onions, horseradish, and pickled mustard seeds that come together to create a creamy condiment.

Are there different types of Reuben sandwiches?

Reuben sandwiches are a versatile meal that satisfy different dietary preferences. From traditional meat-filled sandwiches to vegan and gluten-free versions, there are plenty of tasty options available to suit everyone’s taste buds. These sandwiches include Turkey Reuben Sandwiches, Gluten-Free Reuben Sandwich Dippers and Vegan Mushroom Reubens.

What is a Georgia reuben sandwich?

For those seeking an unconventional twist on the classic Reuben sandwich, the Georgia Reuben may be just the thing. This sandwich deviates from the traditional recipe, featuring grilled Rye bread and Russian dressing, and is stuffed with roasted turkey, Swiss cheese, coleslaw, and additional Russian dressing.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this vegetarian Reuben sandwich is not only a delicious alternative for meat-lovers, but it’s also a healthy and satisfying meal that can fit any dietary restriction. With fresh ingredients like sauerkraut, sweet apple, tempeh bacon, and kale, this recipe will leave your taste buds singing with joy.

I highly recommend trying out this recipe at home and experimenting with different variations to create a sandwich that fits your personal preferences. It’s essential to remember that simple ingredient swaps like veggie pastrami or vegan Russian dressing can make all the difference in creating the perfect vegetarian Reuben sandwich.

So make sure to follow my detailed instructions and tips for perfect results, and don’t be afraid to customize the recipe to your liking. Trust me; you won’t regret it. Bon appétit!

Vegetarian Reuben Sandwich(Virgin Reuben)

Vegetarian Reuben Sandwich(Virgin Reuben) Recipe

I have another recipe from Moosewood that's called a Portabella Reuben, but this is from the Food Network Kitchens and I think you will enjoy this one too!You can leave out the tempeh bacon and/or use veggie bacon, toful bacon, wham(vegetarian ham), or even roasted mushrooms.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Course Sandwich
Cuisine Vegetarian
Calories 520.4 kcal



  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb sauerkraut, drained and rinsed
  • 1 sweet apple, peeled, and grated (optional)
  • generous pinch allspice
  • salt
  • fresh ground black pepper

Russian Dressing

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon chili sauce (or ketchup or try Thai chili sauce for a kick)
  • 1 dash hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons capers, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (optional)
  • 12 slices tempeh bacon (you can leave this out or use veggie bacon, tofu bacon, seitan or wham=vegetarian ham)
  • 1 -2 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 slices rye bread (or pumpernickel bread)
  • 12 slices dill pickles
  • 2 cups grated swiss cheese (8 ounces)
  • kosher salt
  • fresh ground black pepper


  • Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan on medium heat.
  • Add the onion and garlic; cook until golden brown, about 15 minutes.
  • Add the sauerkraut, apple(if using), and allspice, season with salt and a generous grinding of black pepper.
  • Cook until sauerkraut is tender, lightly browned and all the liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes more(you want all the liquid gone).
  • For the Russian dressing:
  • Mix all the dressing ingredients together, cover and chill until ready to use.
  • For the Sandwich:
  • Heat a grill pan on medium low heat.
  • If using the tempeh: Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and cook the tempeh, in batches as needed, until crispy golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to paper towels. If using other options, cook as directed.
  • Spread some butter on 1 side of each slice of bread. Place 4 pieces, buttered side down, on a work surface. Spread some of the Russian dressing on. Evenly lay the pickles, tempeh(or other options) if using, sauerkraut, and then cheese on top. Top with second slice of bread, to make 4 sandwiches.
  • Place the sandwiches on the grill and cook about 2-3 minutes on each side, turning once so both sides get nice and golden brown, about 4-6 minutes total.
  • Serve hot. Enjoy!

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 334gCalories: 520.4kcalCarbohydrates: 45.6gProtein: 21.7gFat: 28.5gSaturated Fat: 13.1gCholesterol: 61.1mgSodium: 1665.4mgFiber: 7.9gSugar: 7.7g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Cheese, European, German, Lunch, Vegetable, Weeknight
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Recommended Vegan Recipes Just For You